What Is An Artificial Urinary Sphincter Implantation, When Is It Used To Treat Incontinence, And What Can I Expect?

Ted DeWeese, M.D., Johns Hopkins

Jan. 01, 2009 -- Question: What is an artificial urinary sphincter implantation, when is it used to treat incontinence, and what can I expect after implant surgery?

Answer: An artificial sphincter, or artificial urinary sphincter, is a mechanical device that's actually placed around the urethra inside the body at the base of the penis. It is most typically used after surgery for prostate cancer when the man has not been able to respond to more simple measures of urinary control like surgery, like less invasive procedures of collagen injections, or perhaps exercises.

And the man can expect to have some pain associated with that procedure following the implantation, and then over time there can be kind of an irritative symptom -- feeling like you have to go to the bathroom that can be associated with it. But that does tend to be limited to a few months after that procedure.